Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set (68-72) (Collection)
The Destiny Device (Graded Reader) (Gamebook)
|User Summary:||Dr. Wogan, a scientist working on an anti-radiation device to protect the world from nuclear war, has disappeared, and you, as his assistant, must somehow find him.|
The "More than x endings!" thing is getting really silly now -- the back claims the book has more than 21 endings, but by my count there are only 20 in here. Yeesh! Anyway, I was disappointed by this book. It seems promising enough, displaying better-than-average writing by Montgomery and having a plot that, while hardly original, is at least mostly coherent. The problem is that it lacks satisfying endings; most are abrupt or vague or otherwise frustrating. It's no good to have a decent story if you're not going to end it with finality, and the general lack of closure brings down what might otherwise have been at least a marginally interesting adventure.
The other reviewers have already said almost everything worth saying about this book, i.e. in the original, Dr. Wogan was male, and in the reissue, she's a woman, stuff like that. But the one thing that I think is especially notable about this book is something that could be overlooked in the original version. It's the book's worst ending: you accidently activate the magnetic field reverser, the planet Earth is destroyed, and an alien observer at the edge of the galaxy notes "the sudden disappearance of a minor planet from the scanning screen."
Holey moley! That's pretty depressing if you ask me, that your actions (or inactions) can bring about the end of the world! But why I think this is especially notable is because in the original, Earth's destruction is explained in a small paragraph. But in the reissue, this tragic ending is accompanyed by a very detailed illustration, one I thought was entirely appropriate, given the circumstances!
Why would there be no illustration for the "Earth Dies" ending in the first version? Anyway, I'm glad that in the reissue, one was made. It really gave it some emphasis and some real impact!
So, about this book, I have nothing else more to say. This review is merely observational, really. Oh, and the plot of wanting to neutralize radiation the world over is noble and considerate, but doesn't seem quite possible in reality!
Or does it?
I have the 2005 reissue of this book. Everything in Demian's review still holds true, so I shall review the other aspects of the new edition.
The book is filled with new illustrations by Marano Trod, Claudio Triglio and Andrés Rossi which are all very nice, and have a comic-book feel to them. There seems to be two covers to the new book, the original, from the first printing is in the same style as the interior illustrations (see here: http://www.cyoa.com/book_17_brilliant.htm) and the second is a more realistic painting in the second printing (which I own) from 2007 (see here: http://www.cyoastore.com/product/show/132).
The most interesting part of the book is the stuff in the back. After the credits and about the author there is a 14-page blank "adventure log" with no explanation. Perhaps to write down page numbers or draw in? This replaces pictures of all the covers of the books in the reissue series in earlier printings. After the log is a page that says:
Choose Your Own Adventure
I'm guessing a second new title after Forecast From Stonehenge [editor's note -- actually, this is a whole new series]. After that there is an ad for Chooseco products, a trivia quiz on the book, and then most interesting a page of glowing reviews. It is similar to the reviews that appeared in the front of the original CYOA books, but instead of 12-year-olds and teachers, they are from nostalgic twenty-somethings, who read CYOA as kids. Sounds like me.
Maybe I am odd, but I find this material more exciting than the actual book.
If I'm not mistaken, Dr. Wogan is a man in the original version – but in the reissue, she is a woman. This change is rather inexplicable and done for no immediately obvious reason. But anyway, that's R. A. for you....
I was pleased to discover that the plot for this isn't as excruciatingly bad as in some of R. A.'s other books. Usually sci-fi and espionage are what he does worst at, so this was a pleasant change. Nevertheless, Demian is right when he says this book lacks satisfying endings: there is one heck of a lot of stuff more or less along the lines of "we defeated the bad guys and got away, but don't know how we escaped, who the bad guys actually were, or what will happen next."
Anyway, overall this book is about average or perhaps slightly below. But by R. A.'s liberal standards, it's a masterpiece.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Adam Osman for providing the Australian cover scans and pointing out this book's variant position in the Australian series order (#18).|
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